Solar photovoltaic (solar panel) market growth is expected to triple over the next 7 years, hiking from 97 gigawatts in 2012 to 329.8 gigawatts in 2020, according to a new GlobalData report.
Despite a challenging world economy, the market for solar installations has continued to grow strongly. The global installed capacity of PV is the third-largest renewable technology in regard to installations, coming in after wind and small hydropower projects.
One factor is the global goal of energy independence, which is driving governments to promote and develop cleaner power sources including community solar microgrids, grid-tied PV, and utility-scale installations.
On a smaller scale, funding and incentives for the solar industry and technological advancements are resulting in lower prices are contributing to the industry boom.
Some of the biggest growth has come from the European Union, accounting for 70% of new capacity in 2011. In 2012, Germany accounted for about 32% of global installed PV capacity. The report does mention that this has a lot to do with feed-in tariffs, and that as the tariff lessens, growth may begin to stall.
In the United States and Canada, stimulus packages, investment tax credits, and production tax credits have all supported the development of new solar power. The U.S. federal government, for example, has funded $3.1 billion to encourage the PV industry.
Asian companies continue to dominate the global supply chain, and governments are creating long-term policies and incentives to stay on track.
The report expects the Middle East, Central America, and Africa to be key markets in the future of solar PV installations, which will also contribute to the anticipated growth. If these numbers keep up and more countries offer incentives and tariffs for solar power, this target could be hit much sooner than expected.
Image CC licensed by Avinash Kaushik